I caught ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ the other night, and it’s only in my adult years that I realize: Pig-Pen, as a character, is really insensitive. A dirty kid that no one wants to get close to?* Come on, Mr. Schultz.
- Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum was asked about the big rumor in the Cubs world, the pursuit of free agent first baseman Prince Fielder, and his response got everyone up in a tizzy. “At this point, I think it’s a lot of media talking more than us doing anything,” Sveum said about reports linking the Cubs to Fielder. “We haven’t had any talks with Prince, and I haven’t had any conversations with him. It’s more the media and other people bringing this to the table than what we’re doing. We haven’t initiated any kind of contact at all. That’s the media bringing it out right now.” OHMYGOD THE CUBS AREN’T INTERESTED IN FIELDER AT ALL!!!!11!!!1!!!! FIRE THEO AND JED!!!1!!!1!!!!! ROAR!!!!1!!!!lol!!!!!!!
- Consider me un-tizzied. I just can’t put that much stock into Sveum’s comments – which echo what he already said a week and a half ago at the Winter Meetings. Is it possible that this is the big break in the Fielder rumor sweepstakes, and Sveum is publicly confirming for everyone that the Cubs do not have interest? I suppose it’s possible. But, come on. Is it likely? This is a guy who coached Fielder last year, and who has repeatedly said that Fielder is one of his favorite players, one whom he’d love to have on the Cubs next year. Don’t you think it’s a little more likely that he was told to play it a little more close to the vest the next time someone asks about Fielder? His bosses, after all, have a policy of not discussing player acquisitions, and I doubt Sveum is unaware of that policy. And, finally, what did Sveum say, really? That he hasn’t spoken to Prince? That the Cubs haven’t reached out to Fielder? That could be true, even as the two sides negotiate a contract. That’s kind of why players have agents. Speaking to/reaching out to Fielder, himself, wouldn’t occur until the very end of the process. And maybe the Cubs didn’t reach out, but that doesn’t mean Scott Boras didn’t reach out to them. I’m not trying to be blindly hopeful here – if there was a clear denial of interest by the Cubs, I’d accept that. But this isn’t that.
- The Cubs finalized their coaching staff yesterday, with the announcement that Dave McKay – and not Craig Counsell – will take the last spot, and will coach first base. As previously announced, Rudy Jaramillo will return as hitting coach, Pat Listach will shift over to coach third base, Jamie Quirk will be the bench coach, Chris Bosio will be the pitching coach, and Lester Strode will return as the bullpen coach. Mike Borzello and Franklin Font also will serve as Major League staff assistants. Borzello, a long-time coach who spent his last four years as the Dodgers’ bullpen catcher, will work with the catchers and be involved in advance scouting. Font, who was the Cubs’ minor league infield coordinator and has been with the organization for 17 years, will assist Jaramillo.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington offered another non-update on the ongoing Theo Epstein compensation talks. “I think sometime in the next 15-20 years we should have a resolution,” Cherington joked. “I think at some point this offseason we will put that to bed .… We have a basic understanding of about what the level of compensation should be. We differ by degree. At some point that will be resolved. It’s not really holding up anything else.” As I always say: the longer it drags on, the better for the Cubs, as the pressure to get something of obvious value for the Red Sox continues to be reduced. Still no word on the Jed Hoyer/Jason McLeod/Padres compensation issue, which should also be resolved soon.
- A long read on Ryne Sandberg as minor league manager and continued Major League hopeful.
- Long-time minor league catcher in the Cubs’ system Chris Robinson has moved on to the Texas Rangers’ farm system.
- More thoughts on the MLB/MLBPA International Talent Committee, and what it means for an international draft.
*(And don’t tell me about how Pig-Pen is all proud of his filth. He’s a kid. He doesn’t know any better.)